Do You Have a Plan B? 5 Things You Can Do When Your Boat Breaks Down


When you go out travelling, breaking down doesn’t even usually enter our minds. We’re always optimistic when looking at life and rarely have any plan if the worst happens. That’s usually okay of course, because if your car breaks down you simply get out and walk, or call a friend or recovery service.

The same isn’t possible with a boat though. You can’t just park it up and walk the rest of the way. So what exactly can you do if your boat breaks down? The best thing you could actually do is prevent it from happening in the first place, by having your boat serviced and maintained by a good company, like from Ray Bryant Marine.

Outside of that, having consulted a variety of sources about the most common boat breakdown causes, we have come up with some quick solutions that should be enough to get you back home.

1. Fixing a Leaky Pipe

When a water pipe springs a leak it can be the start of a big problem. The easy fix? Patch it up of course! The ideal solution is an actual puncture repair kit, which is always handy to keep in your boat anyway.

In an emergency you can even use a plastic bottle, such as a water bottle. Just cut off both ends, giving you a neat tube. Now slice one side of the tube open so the entire thing can be tightly wrapped around your punctured pipe. Secure this with tape, clamps or any other fixing, trying to get the entire thing as tight as possible. You can use a metallic can too, if the pipe is located in a hot area.

2. Fixing a Leaky Boat

What’s worse than a leaking pipe? A leaking boat! Do you know what regular everyday item is great for plugging leaks though? A potato!! Seriously, just wedge a potato into the gap, even if it means breaking a wedge out of the potato to use. This won’t be affected by the water and thanks to its consistency, you can push it part way through and form a really tight seal!

3. Clogged Water Intake

A clogged water intake will make your engine overheat and eventually shut off. The best way to clear a blocked intake is from the outside and beneath the boat, where you can just clear the obstruction.

If that isn’t possible, you’re going to need a length of hose big enough to reach from the seacock to above the water. Close the seacock and take out your engines intake hose, putting your own hose into the seacock instead, then opening it. Now use something long, thin and firm, such as a broom handle or straightened out wire hanger. Push this through the hose repeatedly to find and clear the clog, then put the intake pipe back and carry on with your journey!

4. Diesel Engine Runaway

Diesel runaways are rare but they do happen, and they can be VERY dangerous. The way to stop one is actually quite easy – blast the air intake of your engine with a CO2 fire extinguisher, and it will shut down.

5. Repairing Ripped Sails

If you’re using sails, and your issue is a rip, you should be able to fix it with rip repair tape. Anybody who uses sails should ALWAYS have this with them! The problem with on the water repairs is salt tends to get everywhere, and it stops things from sticking. Get around this by using rubbing alcohol to clean the sail before trying to repair it.


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